Turtle Power

e-mail Pete

First up, an apology to Gary Williams and his Terrapins. Not that I said or wrote anything bad about them, I just had bad thoughts. It seemed to me the thin skinned National Championship coach had lost his touch with the players. They hadn’t played consistently hard for two years, woefully underachieving.

Williams’ recruiting class lacked star power and once again the ACC loaded up.

But credit Williams for reconnecting, and most importantly, for his senior class making the commitment to end the mediocrity. Even Mike Jones has played good defense in the Terps 5-0 start. Ikene Ebekwe and D.J. Strawberry lead the way without the ball. D.J. pressing and trapping while Ebekwe setting up an embargo around the net leaves their first five opponents sans clue.

The truest example of the commitment to winning comes from Ebekwe. Name the last senior with NBA possibilities to completely change the motion of his jump shot. I can’t either. Gone is the form that reminded you of a construction crane without proper lubricant. In its place, we find a much more compact stroke that gives him a chance for consistency.

The other half of the successful equation lies with the freshmen, most notably Greivous Vasquez and Eric Hayes. Somehow they already share a bond with their running mates and prove that Gary Williams best recruiting comes when shying away from 5-Star studs. They play with the savvy and poise of veterans giving Maryland something not seen since Steve Blake matriculated, a presence at the point guard position.

This team is fast, plays hard, and with two of their five games against Michigan State and St. Johns, they’ve done against respectable competition. We’re not out of November and they’re well on their way to ending a 2 year hiatus from the NCAA Tourney.

Gary, my bad.

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